United Nations Security Council Fast Facts
The Security Council has 15 members.
There are five permanent members: the United States, the Russian Federation, France, China and the United Kingdom.
Ten temporary members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms.
UN Security Council Voting:
To be approved, a Council resolution must have nine “YES” votes out of 15 and no “NO” votes from any of the five permanent members.
Each Council member has one vote.
A “NO” vote from one of the five permanent members kills the resolution.
There is no such thing as a “VETO” vote in formal UN rules, though a “NO” vote from a permanent member has the effect of vetoing a resolution.
If a member “ABSTAINS” from voting, it does not count as either a “YES” or “NO” vote.
Members raise their hands to vote, and sit at a horseshoe-shaped table.
Each of the five Permanent Members has gone to war or invaded a country without Security Council approval.
Security Council Vetoes:
A list of resolutions presented to the Security Council, along with the permanent member negative votes, can be found here.
UN Security Council Presidency:
The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, going alphabetically among member states.
January: Dominican Republic
February: Equatorial Guinea
September: Russian Federation
October: South Africa
November: United Kingdom
December: United States
UNSC Functions & Power:
All Members of the United Nations agree to accept and execute the decisions of the Security Council:
“to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;”
“to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;”
“to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;”
“to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;”
“to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;”
“to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;”
“to take military action against an aggressor;”
“to recommend the admission of new Members;”
“to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in ‘strategic areas’;”
“to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.”